Friday, May 06, 2005

Thoughts in the aftermath of the election

After agonising for a while, I voted yesterday for my sitting Labour MP, Joan Ruddock. She is a good local constituency MP as well as being generally a progressive voice in Parliament. I was tempted to vote for Ian Page of the Socialist Party. Ian Page, a Brockley resident, is a good local councillor. The penalty and the luxury of living in a multi-ethnic working class inner city constituency is that the Labour majority is so big that you can vote for who you want and it makes little difference. I am often tempted to vote for Ian Page and similar candidates as a warning to Labour that they cannot keep on taking their core voters for granted in their bid to seduce middle class Little Englanders.

However, after last week with war returning to centre stage in the electoral debate, I decided I couldn't afford to not vote Labour and let in the appalling Liberal Democrats - or even worse the Tories. I kept thinking of Bush/Gore in 2000, where it wasn't really all of the Florida shenanigans that gave Bush victory so much as all of the leftists voting for Nader.

---

I like voting. I like walking to the end of my street in the sun (it's usually sunny on polling day) to the local school and passing my neighbours, clutching their ballot papers. I like feeling part of something, feeling part of something local and something national at the same time. I especially like to see older people with their ballot papers - and there are a lot of old, working class people on my street, of all colours - because the older people seem to appreciate the gravity of what they are doing.

I felt particularly good to be voting this year, the year of
Kyrgyzstan, of Palestine, of Iraq - hopefully maybe the year of Belarus.

---

Walking away from the polling station, I was suprised to see a Socialist Workers Party sticker on a lamppost, a slogan along the lines of "Blair must go". It seemed mad to me to put that up in Lewisham, where the sitting Labour MP is anti-war and the second party in the previous election was Conservative. That is the madness of gesture politics.

---

Just a mention of the disaster in the East End: Galloway's win over Oona King. Respect did well in a couple of other places - SWP hack Lindsey German in West Ham and Muslim activist Salma Yaqoob in Birmingham Sparkbrook and Small Heath. Links: Respect results, Red Pepper: transcript of Galloway's address to his supporters.

((UPDATE: Here's a nice post on Respect, UKIP and rats which I missed from before the election: The wrong side of capitalism: Statists' travelling circus. And here's Lenin's Tomb on the Bethnal Green and Bow shenanigans.))




Previous: George and Oona, Election blog, Sarf London, Regime change from below
UPDATE: Here's a nice post on Respect, UKIP and rats from before the election, which I missed: The wrong side of capitalism: Statists' travelling circus'

No comments: